The More Eats, the Merrier
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Big, cheap and tasty are the three most important descriptors in Hawaii’s restaurant industry. Combine them all together and success is virtually secured. Do none and pray for a call from Food Network series “Kitchen Impossible” host Robert Irvine.
No one knows this better than the customers of Palisades Drive Inn. In fact, big doesn’t begin to describe the plates at the original Pearl City eatery or its brand new location in Kaneohe. These plates provide massive portions of rice, steak, chicken, fish and just about anything else you have a taste for.
The Lup Cheong Fried Rice ($8.25) weighs in at a scale-tipping three pounds. Seriously — Surf and Turf had it weighted.
If the dish were bland or even ordinary, the massive helping of rice, sausage, veggies, egg and seasonings would just seem like a space filler, but the moist rice and the combination of flavors make it some seriously good rice. The sausage is flavorful without being greasy, the veggies are crisp and the overall dish has a nice tangy shoyu flavor. The eatery even has a kimchi fried rice you may want to try.
If you want more protein with your lunch or dinner plate, and who doesn’t, the BBQ Mixed Plate ($8.95) may be just what you’re are looking for. A heaping portion of white rice and mac salad is topped with barbecued short ribs, chicken and teriyaki steak. The three meats are all tender, smokey and just a bit sweet, which is what you want. Each plate comes with the described starches as standard sides, but you’re not locked into those choices.
Just ask and you can swap the mac salad with a fresh green salad that is served with tomato, cucumber and a light sesame dressing. For a small additional price, you can even swap the white rice for fried rice, brown rice, fried noodles or crispy cake noodles.
A close cousin to the BBQ Mixed Plate is the Chop Steak Plate ($8.25). Beginning with the standard sides, the dish comes with tons of sauteed steak and vegetables, including onion, celery, carrots and green bell peppers. Like everything else, it’s big, tasty and cheap.
Open since last month, Palisades Drive Inn in Kaneohe is celebrating with a special that is surprising even for this value-conscious eatery. The New York Steak with Garlic Shrimp is just $7.99 for the rest of November. This is a nice discount from its low regular price of $10.95. The plate features an 8 ounce steak, scampi-style shrimp, the usual sides of rice and mac salad, and enough leftovers for lunch the next day.
If you’re looking to provide food for a large gathering or meeting, Palisades also offers a number of catering options. I didn’t have the opportunity to see the large pans of local favorites, but reliable sources say they’re brought in on dollies.
Palisades Drive Inn
45-1151 Kamehameha Hwy., Kaneohe
Open daily, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.